The tank room at the Natural History Museum houses many of the Museum's 20 million wet specimens stored in alcohol. Take a 360-degree tour with Senior Curator of Fish, Oliver Crimmen, and view highlight images of this strange and spectacular collection space.
Experience a 360-degree tour of the tank room with Senior Curator of Fish, Oliver Crimmen.
On desktop, drag the screen to change the perspective. To experience the space in virtual reality, put your smartphone into a Google Cardboard viewer.
Archie the 8.62-metre-long giant squid is housed in a custom-built tank in the centre of the tank room.
When it was offered to the Museum, the specimen was a challenge to preserve and house, but it was too good an opportunity to miss.
Most other known remains of giant squid are fragments washed up on beaches or found in the stomach contents of sperm whales.
The specimen was caught alive and immediately frozen, which meant that DNA samples could be taken before decay set in. In 2013, these samples helped prove that there is just one species of giant squid, Architeuthis dux.
A deep-sea anglerfish preserved in alcohol.
With such a swollen stomach, the anglerfish has intrigued researchers since it was caught near the Cape Verde islands in 1999 and brought into the Natural History Museum’s collection.
It is a very rare specimen - one of only 17 discovered - so scientists have been reluctant to cut it open to investigate.
To solve the mystery, Museum scientists and imaging experts used micro-CT scanning to create a 3D model of the fish.
The clarity of the image allowed curator James Maclaine to confirm that the unlucky victim, doubled over inside the anglerfish’s elastic stomach, is a softskin slickhead, Rouleina attrita, almost twice the length of its predator.
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Experience the tank room for yourself on your visit to the Museum on a behind-the-scenes spirit collection tour.